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Erickson, GM fired by 49ers

Dennis Erickson got word in a phone message left the night before to meet with John York first thing Wednesday. Terry Donahue's turn with the 49ers owner came in a meeting a little bit later.

In short order, York dismissed Donahue as general manager and fired Erickson as the coach, putting the finishing touches on a season gone wrong.

The moves followed a 2-14 finish, matching the worst record in franchise history, and were proclaimed by York as the first in a series of changes designed "to restore the level of dominance and prominence expected of this franchise.

"We have decided that a fresh start is in everyone's best interests," York added. "They were both extremely disappointed."

Erickson, 9-23 in two seasons since replacing Steve Mariucci, said York told him he was being let go in a brief meeting at the team's headquarters.

"It's a divorce. It's final now," a subdued Erickson said in a short conference with reporters.

Erickson will be paid $7.5-million for the three years remaining on his contract. A settlement was reached with Donahue, whom York had given a four-year extension in September.

Pete Carroll, a former 49ers defensive coordinator who led USC to its second consecutive national championship Tuesday, has been mentioned as a leading candidate to replace Erickson.

BRONCOS: Former Bucs safety John Lynch plans on defending his wallet against a $75,000 fine. Lynch said he plays within the rules and characterized the fine amount as a "difference of opinion" with the league.

REDSKINS: Former USF linebacker Maurice Jones was signed. Jones signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in April, but was among the team's final preseason cuts. He started his final 33 games at USF and led the Bulls with 116 total tackles in 2003.